Thursday, 19 February 2009

The BrokenTV Awards 2009: Part One

You just wouldn't believe how much messing about has gone into the creation of these. Literally months of planning. Weeks of dicking around with Photoshop, AVS Video Editor, Photo Story 3 and the trial version of Sony Vegas Pro. Plus literally several hours of writing. Then, with a heavy heart, we realised that writing thousands of words for our annual awards show then transplanting them a few words at a time into comedy subtitles over dour footage of Soviet politics would be boring for (a) the viewers once the initial joke wears thin about six seconds into the clip, and (b) us, cutting, pasting, resizing, aligning, and adjusting EVERY SINGLE LINE of the subtitles, because video editing programs are hateful little bastards that would much rather you use a tacky starburst effect and Comic Sans for everything.

So, the project was shelved. But all our initial work wouldn't be for nought - we could use it as a sort of 'highlights' package alongside the written awards, playing in illustrative clips of the shows we want to include, along with lovely captions and the like. Sadly no - YouTube's IP cops busted down the video of that while it was being uploaded, citing the use of 'copyrighted material' (even though we're legally allowed to use clips of things, as long as they're under thirty seconds in length).

So, despite being tempted to go around to YouTube's house and letting their tires down, he's the re-edited re-edit of what we wanted to do, followed by the first part of the original script for The BrokenTV Awards 2009.

The BrokenTV Awards 2008

Live from the Federal Assembly in Moscow

[Grainy monochrome footage of a miserable yet prominent communist party leader from the early 1970s. Faint applause is played out over the picture.]

Boris: Hello everybody! I’m Boris Gryzlov your host for tonight's veritable juggernaut of gong-based merriment. It’s been a truly magical year of television viewing over at BrokenIndustries’ subterranean headquarters, if by which you mean the type of wholly underwhelming magic where David Blaine sits in a chair for three months, having all his food brought to him, and he gets a twenty-minute break every hour. But that’s a bit of a gloomy start, so maybe I’d better kick off with our first award. Here to present the gong for Best Comedy Show, it’s top entertainer Gennady Zinovyev!

[Cut to more recent footage culled from the Russian Federation's YouTube page. Now a different but equally miserable politico is in full colour, and he is in a more open-plan parliament building.]

Caption: Best TV Show About TV

Time for the perennial two-horse race between two of BrokenTV’s favourite telly shows of the decade. Both are utterly fantastic, but each year one just manages to outdo the other, and take away the prize in this category. Or at least they would, had this been an actual category in the BrokenTV awards before now. The two shows in question? We’ll I should hope you have guessed already, but to make it easy: it's Harry Hill versus Charlie Brooker. Here come clips.

[Cue clips of ScreenWipe's piece about Noseybonk and TV Burp's When Your Shadow Looks Like An Elephant clip.]

And the winner is... yes, it’s Harry Hill’s turn this year. A tad unlucky for Screenwipe, as the new series has been excellent, seeing the show take in things like Charlie becoming a children’s TV presenter, twenty-five men doing a wee in front of Konnie Huq, and a wonderful episode dedicated to television commercials. However, the judges ruled that Mr Harry and his team keeping up their own high standards within the twin confines of going out on prime time ITV1, and taking on a mammoth twenty-five episode run, is enough to nick the crown this year. Well done Mr Hill!

Caption: Best International Animated Comedy Programme

And now the award for best international animated comedy, by which we mean American. Where’s a sequel to Stressed Eric when you want it, eh?

Family Guy

Still perambulating between the two extremes of "piss funny" and "full of timesome 1980s pop culture references that don't go anywhere", 2008 saw Fam Guy veer more frequently toward the former. Best episode? The one where Stewie, Brian and Mort find themselves in Warsaw, in 1939. Featuring the voice Brian Blessed!

[Clip of the bit where Mort pretends to be a vicar in from of some Nazis.]

The Drinky Crow Show

No, not just because They Might Be Giants did the theme tune. The sort of show that really should have been impossible to convert to the small screen (for people who aren’t comic geeks, it’s based on Tony Millionaire’s utterly demented Maakies comic strips – figures of the two main characters were on the front of Roy’s desk in series two of The I.T. Crowd), this show did the near-impossible and stretched out three panels of manic lunacy to twelve minutes. Also, not many comedy shows star a manically depressed alcoholic crow who blows his brains out about twice per episode. We’ve just come up with the perfect barometer of quality for television programmes. Look at each individual sentence in the script, then mark it against every over sentence ever uttered in the history of television. The higher the number of unique sentences – something we’re going to call a ‘script-whack’, the better the programme. With lines such as “and you must do the same, my sweet monkey, if they have discovered you have released me, they will chop off your head and make an exotic stew from your brains”, The Drinky Crow Show is sure to score highly.

[Clip of Uncle Gabby and his monkey god peering up the toilet at the Cap'n's daughter in front of an unimpressed Drinky Crow.]

The Venture Bros

The most underrated animated comedy on television? There's just so much to love about Team Venture: from the misanthropic former child star perpetually living in his late father's shadow as the main character, to well-rounded peripheral characters like Billy The Quizboy or magnificently monikered femme fatale Molotov Cocktease, and that's before you even get to the actual events of the show. In fact, The Venture Brothers probably has some of the best charactisation of any current television show, with every character having their own comprehensive personality. Not only that, but the animation looks great, especially so given the modest budget afforded by Adult Swim. It would be entirely fair to speculate that...

[Fast forward through the host's extended Venture love-fest, slowing down in time to catch the end of it.] edtion episode-specific T-shirts, for Christ's sake. Brilliant.

[Clip from final episode where The Monarch is driving to the ultimate showdown with Dr Girlfriend and his minions.]

American Dad

One of our favourite things about American Dad is that even if you took out all the jokes, most of the time you'd still be left with a storyline compelling enough to keep you watching. Been a while since you could say that about The Simpsons, hey? This series is still going strong, which makes it all the more annoying that the only place you can see it in the UK is now on FX, which we haven't got.

[Clip of Steve getting his bison-based revenge on a cheerleader who mocked his girlfriend.]

And the winner is... American Dad. Avoiding the “fire enough pop culture references at the wall and hope some stick” approach of sister show Family Guy, American Dad is going from strength to strength. Sure, it’s less popular than Family Guy, but Peter Kay is more popular than... well, someone good. American Dad also put out the single best twenty-two minutes of television comedy in the past... ooh, three years with the episode “The One That Got Away”. Season four, episode two. Genuinely brilliant. Here’s a clip that does it absolutely no justice, and which does nothing at all to promote the episode.

[Cue clip of Roger meeting the pigeons. Fingers crossed it doesn't get gunned down by litigious.. oh.]

Look out for Part Two soon!

2 .:

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